Prices at pump source of distress

July 29, 2011 Commentary Print Print
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When it comes to gas prices, it is hard to know who to believe these days.

On July 5, an Ocala, Fla., news headline read, “Gas Prices Expected to Continue Falling.”

The reason given was the U.S. Department of Energy is set to release 30 million barrels of oil from the national reserves. Yay!

 

However, the L.A. Times on the same date featured quite the opposite opinion with, “Gas Prices Aren’t Likely to Drop Much More This Summer.” Huh?

The amusing thing is that the price of gas in Florida is averaging $3.497, while Californians are paying a whopping $3.794 per gallon. Optimism could be in the eye of the beholder.

Oklahomans may find this interesting because on June 29, they were able to fill up at most gas stations in town for $3.18 per gallon. Of course, if the public did not take advantage of that price, they awoke to a 17-cent escalation the following day.

Perhaps that increase was the result of the impending holiday weekend but isn’t that price gouging? Not so, says the law. “Gouging is an unreasonable price increase during times of a civil emergency.”

If that is not an unreasonable price increase at a time when the economy is plummeting, perhaps “unreasonable” has another meaning to the powers that be.

“An increase in gas prices encourages suppliers to send more gasoline to the area, thereby avoiding a shortage at the pumps,” is what the suppliers say.

“We have to raise our prices because we are being charged more by suppliers,” say the distributers.

Blah, blah, blah. Stop passing the buck and settle on a price please. It’s hard to budget with this fluctuation.

Even though the price per barrel of oil has declined on a national level, $30 can no longer fill the average tank with fuel.

Whether the rising costs are blamed on tax increases, supply and demand, storage or market volatility, the facts remain the same: Oil companies want to make a profit and people who own vehicles need gasoline. There is no choice but to pay the price or start walking.

That cost is now up to $3.49 in Oklahoma, an increase of 31 cents in less than one month.

If this continues, $50 for a pair of New Balance walkers is looking very tempting.

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